Whether you’re sitting at your desk at home,

or driving past the Amazon distribution house in AZ, your purchases are continually being automatically rejected because Amazon is in AZ? And this just started within the last month or so? I can’t even begin to guess how much $$$ I’ve spent at Amazon via my debit card, and the last thing I purchased there was just prior to Thanksgiving. I’ll be making another purchase with them within the next week or so – books for my neices. I’ll let you know how that goes. Bizarre behavior given the season, but maybe that’s when their fraud rates go up.

Here’s how the gentleman explained the situation.

First of all—yes I can use their debit card for amazon because to quote him amazon has a very good security system and so do they.
However, he said the problem with AZ is not that the state is full of thieves but what they do have is a “hackers hub” that the FBI and other law officials have been trying to break for quite some time, with no success. The Hub monitors all internet transactions between companies and banks and picks up account numbers and other info by doing so. They then manufacture credit/debit cards with that info on it including that little extra number on the back and sell those cards to be used fraudulently world wide.
He said smaller banks do not have the funds to handle such widespread attacks so they deny charges for AZ and the other states I sent in my previous post as their best method of protection for themselves—because it costs the bank every time fraud hits—and the customers, who could end up overdrawn and all their money tied up for days, as well as being out a minimum of $50 at most banks, but higher at others.
His recommendation is if you have an account with an online company, say Honeyville Grain, Amazon etc that has an account number, or for companies like Baker’s Heirloom seeds that will still take paper payments, that you use your banks online bill pay system because the way it works, at least at bank #3, is you deposit the money into your account and that money is then placed into a bill pay account that is not attached to your account in any way. They then issue the equivalent to a cashier’s check or wire transfer electronically to the account you are wanting to pay, or they will issue a paper check if that is how you want it. There is no connection to your checking or debit card account at all, no bank account or routing numbers, so the hackers can’t get into your account.

I ordered a large product on Ebay

and it was sent to me in 3 separate boxes. One piece was broken and they said to send it back for a replacement, but not the other 2 boxes. So they sent a UPS call for the 1 box. They are making a claim with UPS that it was damaged during shipment.That was 3 weeks ago. We have called daily to follow up and they keep giving us the run-a-round, waiting for UPS to reimburse them before they will send a replacement. I think this is terrible customer service, and I’m tired of the hassle and just want to send them the rest of it back and get our money back.
They are saying since Parts 2 & 3 are not damaged, we will have to pay for the shipping back.I have no Ebay experience, and neither of us have ever made a claim thru Ebay or PayPal. But at this point, I don’t think we have much of a choice. The product was $425 and shipping will probably be about $150. Will PayPal see the entire purchase as broken and make them pay for the shipping back? or will we have to eat the shipping on that too?

We’ve smelled that smell only once in this house

and yes, it very quickly becomes a hurry-up-and-find-it emergency. Glad you found it so quickly, and that it wasn’t either of the critters! Sounds like that model of printer has some issues; I’d definitely get some other model. Let’s not have anyone burn their house down! Murphy doesn’t get to claim such a big prize!

Not financially, but in a way that may have saved our lives, or at the very least damage to the house. Since the guys normally leave for work at 6 am we generally have early bedtimes around here. But ds has been working 3-4 hours overtime every night this week and since he and dh carpool dh has been getting home late too. Tonight dinner wasn’t until nearly 8:30 pm, a time we are all normally already in our bedrooms and headed toward dreamland. About halfway through the meal ds suddenly startled both dh and I and said “I smell burning electrical!!!” quite loudly. We all jumped and ran. Ds upstairs to see if Junior Chicken had somehow knocked over his light, Me to the bedroom to see if Sir Oliver Inkwell had found an unprotected wire to chew—the boy really loves wires and especially those gummy head phone wires. While I had dh checking the printers and other electrical equipment in the living room. The smell got strong fast, something was definitely burning and we had to find it quickly.
Both animals were blameless, but the newest printer was not, or at least we are pretty certain that was what it was. The smell was the strongest around it, although the printer didn’t feel hot in anyway. Dh unplugged it and the smell started to leave immediately. If we had been on our normal schedule the burning could have got serious before any of us smelled it. Thank goodness for overtime! Just to be on the safe side we currently have everything unplugged in the living room and dh checked the smoke detectors before we went toward our room.

This is the same model printer that had to be replaced due to a shorting out about a year ago, for free –under warranty. Guess they’ll be replacing it again. I think I want a different model. We might not be as lucky next time.

I wanted to chime

in here with something I just moments ago encountered with Amazon. As a lot of you know, we’re a skiing family and live in northern Michigan. It gets cold here and it’s imperative that I keep my family as protected against the elements as necessary. There is a company called Reusch that makes the best ski mittens out there. I have had troubles finding their mittens in my children’s sizes. I did find someone selling junior Reusch gloves for $84 on Amazon. Yes, this is pricey, but I’ve often seen them for more. For kicks, I decided to go to the seller’s website. They are selling the exact same gloves on their site for $40 plus free shipping. Not only is this price unbelievable, I can’t believe they are selling the exact same item on Amazon for more than double, plus, shipping fees. I just learned a huge lesson here: go directly to the Amazon seller’s own site and see what their prices are there.

Okay, so I’ve been using my debit card like a credit card for years now.

Until recently I’ve had absolutely no trouble using it as such. And the problem I am currently having is NOT from the seller of the merchandise, but from the issuing bankS yes I said banks with an S. I bank strictly with local banks for many reasons and for the last year or so I am running into this problem more and more. But today it has gotten entirely out of hand.
I do a lot of my Christmas shopping online. I have an account set-up just for that purpose and have NEVER had trouble using it for just that purpose. We used that account while traveling and were warned by the bank that certain purchases in AZ would be denied because of the high fraud rate from AZ. I’ll go into that more in detail on my blog as the days roll on.
While we were in Phoenix, AZ we drove past the amazon.com distribution center and just let me say that place is HUGE! I thought nothing about it being in AZ at the time, I certainly should have. This last weekend we decided on exactly how much our Christmas budget was an ordered gifts for ds for both his birthday and Christmas, using said card.
The next day I discovered an email that my debit card had been refused by my bank. Bank says it’s because amazon is in –you guessed it AZ. Tried bank #2, next day another reject email because—all together now “amazon is in AZ.”
Now bank two had told me while traveling in AZ I could write a check as long as I had photo id. Amazon now has where you can use an electronic check by supplying id. Did that last night. Guess what I just found in my email, another reject because—one more time—amazon is in AZ! This is ridiculous!
I have one more bank to try as soon as we make the deposit of the check we just received in the mail. It is a bank ds uses with amazon all the time and we bank with as well. However, I know they told me before the trip that if I used the card in AZ it would be rejected. Anyone want to lay bets as to whether I can make the purchase or not?
In the past I have used paypal to pay amazon, only I cannot seem to find that option any longer, it is in fact my preferred way to pay because you then have double protection. Probably why it’s not offered any more.
Amazon’s solution for this is 1) get their lovely credit card—you know I’m not going there or 2) purchase an amazon gift card locally with it’s nice little handling fee—which I won’t pay to shop (you’ll see that line coming up a bit in the vacation blog too).

While I am not purchasing a lot for Christmas amazon may have just lost the benefit of us doing all our Christmas shopping and all the other shopping we do throughout the year through them because of the No Arizona law with our banks.

I understand the banks have taken a hit due to the high rate of fraud in AZ, but to penalize customers who verify it is them doing the shopping is ridiculous.

Earlier in the year, I avoided looking for any more contract work…

But since the summer, I’ve talked to SEVERAL headhunters for contracts. I’m on Careerbuilder, Monster, Dice, Indeed, LinkedIn,TechCareers, KForce, and a couple of others that I can’t recall at the moment. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t have a CLUE about finding a job inanother state. How did your husband go about getting a job in a different location? Unless the company paid for the travel, I couldn’t even afford to go to meet with them. But even so, I can’t sell my house that’s underwater, and I’m afraid I need to stay in this area for my Dad, who is 89 and has Alzheimer’s.

It’s kinda hard not to be disappointed with all these declines.

Since my unemployment runs out Dec 29, this is becoming VERY critical. And
I’m even finding it difficult to get a chance for a much-lower salary, since they consider me ‘over-qualified’. I’m worried now that I won’t even be able to get a minimum-wage job somewhere, just to get SOME money coming in.
Is there anyone in this group who is in HR or consulting who can give me some advice?

We ventured out yesterday during the day

—something we generally never do this close to Christmas because of the crowds. But there were a few things we needed and we thought if we went to this one center not far from us (20 miles) we’d be fine. Nope!
We were playing divide and conquer. Where each of us would hit a different store and meet back at the truck to get the errands done quickly (we each have a key to the truck). Dh let me out at Dollar Tree, ds out at Michaels and then he went to park the truck and then he was going to go into Best Buy. He had no sooner neatly parked the truck between the lines when a Michael’s employee rushing to get to work, pulled into him! She clipped the driver’s side dually hip and of course the fiber glass body shattered in the cold air.
She was very apologetic, offered her insurance info immediately and kept saying over and over “OMG I hit Santa!” Since dh was completely parked, the motor shut off and she hit the rear of the truck there is no doubt who was at fault. I’ll turn our report to our insurance agent on Monday and she’s going to be really upset when she gets the estimate. When we had that same panel replaced due to a similar problem in 2006 it was over $2,000. Luckily she has, according to her insurance card, full coverage. It’s a pretty nasty looking hole. It shouldn’t cost us anything, but Murphy sure tried.

I worked at home instead of out in traffic

(shuddddder at the thought of Christmas shopping traffic).
Ds worked overtime.
I blogged a lot—in fact today’s post isn’t about the trip but about time budgeting and how I’m breaking my time budget down to manage it just like you do a financial budget. Thanks to all of you who have been clicking the ads the pennies are starting to slowly add up. I’ll get another post about the trip, probably tomorrow.
I cooked meals on the nights we were home. Worked hard on keeping on the time budget, pretty much finished my limited Christmas shopping and found my long black skirt—long story, let’s just say it’s been a nearly two month hunt and it turned up just about exactly where it should have been.
Worked on unpacking the camper—still not finished, but it is winterized.
This week I have the goals of finish getting the downstairs “Christmas ready”, wrapping gifts, paying off the two bills—thank you boss!—and getting the repairs started on the truck. We’ll see how that goes.

The owner stopped by our table to chat last night

and praised me, calling me by my name, for raising such a wonderful son, he also thanked me for letting both men work for him. How many bosses do that? Ds is impressed that he calls all the employees by their first name and greets them as he walks by them, often stopping to chat with them and inquire about life in general, not just work related things. He also knows a lot about each employee and the gift drawing last night showed that. There are several car enthusiasts, thus the car detailing kit, gun enthusiasts- a nice gun care kit was given, some of the women complain about always being cold in their cubicles- nice warm lap throws, many speak of spending time on their patios—one of those free standing fire places was given, a BUNCH of gift cards for different restaurants on and on. Almost everyone at the party won something last night and they were all items that someone in the company would use for their interest (there was some trading going on after the give away).
I know his wife once told me they went through DR’s class, I know they took a long vacation earlier this year. I wonder if they went to the leadership class then. He’s talked about paying for all his employees to attend the debt free class. I know this because he asked dh if he’d been through it and if he could teach it. Dh told him we had not, that we learned about it from this list and the book a good friend, Eldred, gave us. The boss is impressed we are sticking to it for certain. The class hasn’t been offered yet, but if it is we will definitely take it.

The employer and his wife are wonderful people.

They are good homeschooling, giving Christians. They are very down to earth and involved in the day to day work of the firm. In fact I got a kick out of watching the boss trying to learn to line dance at the company Christmas party last night (a formal affair that had to have cost the company a bunch at the Double Tree—it started out with everyone having a combination of champagne and cranberry juice—tastes a lot better than it sounds)
I don’t know if they listen to DR on a regular basis or not, but I do believe they are followers. I know he knows we follow it and at the party last night he was very proud to announce that the company was now entirely debt free—and he practically did a debt free shout! He even said while they carry a line of credit for business reasons it is now paid off in full every month. I know in this industry potential customers sometimes check to see what a line of credit for a company is before even talking to them. He was very proud of this and his wife was beaming and nodding in unison as he spoke.
We have truly been blessed by this company the last 2.5 years. First they hired dh and a few months later gave him a crisp $100 bill for his Christmas bonus—times were really tight for the company that had nearly folded the year before at that time. Then a small pay raise that spring. This last year as time and money improved for the company he gave dh a $3 an hour raise—unheard of in most engineering firms. Then he hired ds, breaking his own rule about not hiring members of the same family because to quote him “I want a Gary clone” and he has told us more than once he feels he got an excellent employee in Sean. The company picnic in September was a luau.
Both men have received numerous gift cards in addition to overtime pay when they’ve worked extra overtime to help get a rush job out. He paid for AU and part of our vacation fuel. Follow that up with those wonderful bonuses and the big expensive party last night where they gave away some really nice door prizes (including 2-$100 gift cards, 1 $200 gift card and a $500 gift card—all visa) Dh won a car detailing kit and I got a $25 gift card to TGIF

Our company is

a small family owned brick and mortar store and we give bonuses each year at Christmas. If at all possible we give one around the end of May/early June as well. If we must cut out one bonus, it is the one in May. The one for Christmas is given early enough in the month that our employees can use it for Christmas if they need to.
What is funny is that we have someone of a certain ‘faith’ that does not celebrate Christmas (non-Jew) but she accepts the Christmas bonus anyway. Won’t come to the Christmas party (paid for by our company) or take part in any gift exchanges though.

Okay it doesn’t exactly fit the tune, but that’s what I’ve been wanting to do for months.

I even mentioned it once before on the list. Well I must have been a very good girl somewhere along the line because yesterday ds called and said “Has Dad called you yet?”

I cringed heavily when he said that because that is exactly what he said back in February of 2009 (just after we had got back from the last trip to Las Vegas for AU). But his voice was different this time, so I timidly said “noooo, why?”

He replied he should let Dad call me but he was so excited he had to tell someone. The company owner had been in the office earlier in the day and had handed out Christmas cards to everyone one at a time stopping a their desks to visit with them. He wished each one Merry Christmas and said “this is to thank you for giving us such a good year”.
Each card contained a check for $2,000 (less taxes of course)!!!!!! Ds was just beside himself. He’s never had a Christmas bonus before (and he just turned 38) and he’s only been with the company 4 months. He was still pinging when he went to bed last night.
Dh never did call me, just came home and gave me the check! It is enough to replenish the emergency fund (report on the usage of it coming up in the blog later this month) AND to pay off two of our smallest bills!!!! When I told dh what I wanted to do with the money he said it would be the best Christmas gift he could think of for all of us. YES!!!! We put the check in the bank last night and Monday I’ll go personally to pay off Social Security (so I can get a receipt as PROOF we’ve paid them off) and then I’ll pay off Lowe’s!!!

Emotional problems are often the hardest to deal with

and I pray for strength and love for you and help for him. I grew up with a bipolar mother and I understand how scary that can be. We never knew what would trigger her melt downs. This is why I spent most of my young childhood being moved from aunt to aunt. But with the right help I am sure he will come out the other side so much better off for being in your loving household. Mom finally got the proper help later in life and the difference was so wonderful.
I’m glad things are slowly getting into a routine for all three of the newest children and you. Handling all of this along with bronchitis has had to have been hard. I know when I’ve had bronchitis in the past the worst part was at the end when I usually develop a dry non-productive cough that just racks my whole body. I use to take so many cough syrups and such to deal with it, but nothing seemed to work. UNTIL I stumbled across an old recipe for a thyme tea for just that type of cough. I now use it every time I even get a hint of bronchitis and it works every time. Because of the honey in it I would not recommend giving it to the younger children. But at least you could try it—I don’t think it would pass through to the baby if you are breast feeding—check with your doctor about you using honey.

like we’ve never seen…

My 2nd oldest son turned 8 in November and he had an emotional breakdown (mental breakdown maybe?).including hurting our other children (right down to the 2 yr old). He’s a wee bit better right now but we’re trying to get him into a Trauma Assessment Center to get him properly diagnoses (PTSD? Anxiety? Bipolar?) He still has breakdowns and negative behaviors but it isn’t quite as intense.
Outside of that we’re doing pretty good…We are helping our new little ones settle down, understand love and family and permanency and its a long journey. Our baby is doing well and a sweet little guy!

We’ve been fighting bronchitis for 2 months now (6 weeks for me) but I think I’m on the upswing with my 3rd or 4th antibiotic. I read on here but don’t check in often…I do try to keep my blog updated.

How come amway is still growing?

Hello everyone! I have a question to ask. One of the reasons why TTs are doomed-to-fail is because of market saturation. The retort that always get shot back at me is that Amway has been around for 50 years, does it look like it’s getting saturated?
I was just wondering, how come Amway is still growing, even after 50 years???